Carpenter scheduled to face live hitters later this week

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Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter continues to make a mostly smooth recovery from the left hamstring strain that he suffered last week.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carp is scheduled to face live hitters in a batting practice session Friday and could be cleared to resume appearing in Grapefruit League games if everything goes well.

Carpenter gave the Cardinals a little scare when he felt a twinge in the hamstring this past weekend, but he threw an aggressive bullpen session Tuesday and reported no problems during or after.

St. Louis is praying for another ace-like season out of the veteran right-hander, especially in the wake of Adam Wainwright’s recent Tommy John surgery. Carpenter posted a fantastic 3.22 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 235 innings last year, racking up 179 strikeouts against only 63 walks. He nearly won the National League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.